A short highlight video plays before every home Tennessee softball game at Lee Stadium.
In the video, Madison Shipman turns her hips and unleashes on a pitch in slow motion.
The ball rockets into the sky.
On Friday night, the Lady Vols seemed to hold tryouts for that part in a future video.
And they invited Texas A&M.
In a contest with the No. 5 Aggies that UT co-head coach Karen Weekly dubbed a “home run derby,” No. 8 Tennessee (25-6, 4-3 SEC) threw the final blow in an 8-6 slugfest.
Tennessee starter Ellen Renfroe struggled, allowing four runs on six hits.
Ivy Renfroe (10-3) picked up the win in relief. She threw two innings, allowed zero hits and retired the side in order in the seventh.
Ellen Renfroe allowed a pair of nearly identical home runs to Meagan May.
May punished both her blasts on a full-count pitch and drove them to center field.
Ten of the game’s 14 runs came via six home runs.
“Watching them on film, I told (co-head coach) Ralph (Weekly) that I think (Texas A&M) is the best team we will face all year,” Karen Weekly said. “I felt they were very powerful throughout their entire lineup. That’s what sets them apart.”
And the Aggies certainty didn’t disappoint in the power department. They belted three consecutive home runs in the fifth.
Texas A&M (26-3, 4-2) entered the three-game series leading the SEC in home runs and sent four sailing over the fence on Friday.
But the second of Tennessee’s humble two homers proved to be the biggest.
And it came from one
of the most unlikely candidates.
Facing a 5-6 deficit in the sixth with runners on second and third, Raven Chavanne departed the on-deck circle and approached Ralph Weekly at the third-base line.
The prolific slapper, speedster and leadoff hitter received a pat on the back and was ushered to home plate.
“He was just telling me you got to hit, you got to hit — no slapping,” Chavanne said. “And I said, ‘I got you coach. No worries.’”
But after providing brief worry from falling into a quick 0-2 hole, Chavanne punched a three-run home run to straightaway center field.
“I knew. It was just one of those ones where you hit it and knew,” Chavanne said. “But I was just focused on putting something deep enough to get the runner in from third.”
“We were all so pumped that she went up there and did that,” Shipman said.
Shipman, who had three hits, accounted for UT’s first home run in the first inning.
With Lauren Gibson on first, Shipman pulled a high fastball that raced over the left-field fence.
“Ralph likes to say that I’m always trying to hit one out,” Shipman said. “But no, really, we’ve been really working on finding our pitch and that one was mine and I went after it.”
Riley Blevins is a freelance contributor.